Secondary applications - overcoming extreme hardship/adverse circumstances

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Ppredentalstudent

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Sep 29, 2019
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    Hello! Currently I am filling out my secondary application for a Texas A&M University dental school. There's two prompts I am confused about. One is "overcoming/experienced extreme hardship" and another is "other adverse circumstances". There are a couple of things I could write about, but I'm not sure if any qualify for these essays. Any advice is appreciated!

    1. My parents got divorced when I was very young, they actually began the court proceedings shortly after I was born. Even though I grew up used to this, it was difficult to be constantly changing environments/ deal with parental issues because of it. Neither were single for very long afterwards, but both had quite a bit of economic hardship after - especially my father.
    2. When I was in high school, my grandmother who lived with my family (mother's side) passed away. She helped my mother raise me and I was extremely close to her (I often say she was my best friend).
    3. I took a semester off during college because I became very unhealthy from overworking myself. I needed to receive emergency care at one point and took the semester off after that to focus on my health (I did address this in my primary application).

    Thank you!
     
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    S_Diamond_DDS

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    Jun 24, 2015
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      I would write about adversity you might have faced during college rather than any of these things, as they all are irrelevant to your post high school education except for the last one, which is a bad one to talk about imo because it may raise red flags. When I say write about adversity I mean, answer the prompt “besides the academic workload, what other responsibilities did you have that made completing your college classes more difficult (such as work, making time for kids etc)?” This can even be personal struggles, such as struggling to find a career you wanted to pursue (did you do a major change?) or being immature early on but later gaining maturity and drive in the pursuit of dentistry.
       
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      Ppredentalstudent

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      Sep 29, 2019
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      1. Pre-Dental
        I would write about adversity you might have faced during college rather than any of these things, as they all are irrelevant to your post high school education except for the last one, which is a bad one to talk about imo because it may raise red flags. When I say write about adversity I mean, answer the prompt “besides the academic workload, what other responsibilities did you have that made completing your college classes more difficult (such as work, making time for kids etc)?” This can even be personal struggles, such as struggling to find a career you wanted to pursue (did you do a major change?) or being immature early on but later gaining maturity and drive in the pursuit of dentistry.
        I see what you mean, thank you! Above these prompts theres a list of items you can check if it's something that is part of your history - like low socioeconomic status, employment during college, resident of an underserved community etc. so maybe these prompts are a place for you to explain the circumstances that you list.

        When I was a sophomore in college I was working in the hospital while taking classes at the same time. My job however was not necessary for me to cover my costs of living/school, I was working for experience in a hospital setting (I was pre-med at the time). Would this be a better topic?
         
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        S_Diamond_DDS

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          Yes it would be. You might still say you were working to make some extra money during school, even if it didn’t go to school directly. Shows personal responsibility. And I might not mention that you were doing it because you were pre-med at the time. But it’s up to you. Either way you tell it, yes, this is a better story to write about.
           
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          Ppredentalstudent

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          Sep 29, 2019
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            Yes it would be. You might still say you were working to make some extra money during school, even if it didn’t go to school directly. Shows personal responsibility. And I might not mention that you were doing it because you were pre-med at the time. But it’s up to you. Either way you tell it, yes, this is a better story to write about.
            Thank you!
             

            MGA100

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              I would just leave that section blank about the adversities. You have no idea what the people who are reviewing your app have been through and so if you discuss a situation which they may deem to not be a hardship, it may backfire against you. If it is not a life defining hardship and not in your personal statement, I would not include it. Rather, save that stuff for interviews when they ask you about challenges you have been through, etc. Good luck to you.
               
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